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How Brokers Can Boost Their Site's SEO

by | Apr 16, 2014

With many brokers still frustrated with the performance of their website SEO, we thought now was a good time to revisit our previous presentation, "Does Your Broker Website Compete Effectively?"

If you're worried abou losing traffic to third party sites like Zillow and Trulia, watch the video below to learn how to build traffic to your site, improve your visitors' experience, and convert those visitors into leads. For a quick-and-dirty overview, see our notes on the next page.

Read on for highlights from each of our three speakers, and to view the recorded presentation.

Find Out What Consumers Want

Since 2011, traffic to broker websites has gone flat, while activity on third party sites has flourished. To understand why this is, we need to turn our attention to broker websites, which have traditionally been developed around the business needs of the broker.

However, it's consumers that drive success--not brokers, MLSs, or even agents. If you don't understand what the consumer looks for in a real estate website, you have no foundation on which to build a successful online presence.

So what do consumers want? According to WAV Group, they want:

  • Education - Consumers often feel lost during the homebuying process. They want to know what to expect during the homebuying process, what can go wrong, and what decisions they'll face.
  • Service and quick response - During their research process, homebuyers want service--they don't want to be converted. They want you to respond quickly, and they want support services throughout their property search.
  • Clarity - Many brokerage websites are messes of unorganized information. By including everything under the sun, brokers may think they're being thorough, but they're only confusing visitors--and driving them away.

You can create an effective website through clean, organized design and by understanding the intent of your visitors.

Learn How Consumers Think

Competing effectively requires a constant evaluation of usability, according to David Camp of Real Estate Digital. This is not just a singular event, it's an ongoing process.

Usability starts with understanding the mindset of today's online consumer, including:

  • Attitude - "Don't waste my time; Give me what I want how I want it; Give it to me now." Not understanding this outlook of "now-ism" will prevent you from reaching the consumer.
  • Behavior - Users exhibit these behaviors across all real estate websites: Searching for listings, Saving searches and listings; Consuming content on home values, market trends, and demographics. Only after these basics are in place on your website can you begin to create a higher level of engagement.
  • Hunger for local content - Today, 73% of all searches are for local content. Ideas for local content include landing pages, ebooks, and dynamic information on area markets, trends, and demographics.

Once you know what your visitors want, you need to understand how they use your website. Use analytics tools to follow their search experience, see how they navigate through your site, and evaluate their search keywords. Be sure to also measure key performance indicators, like time on site and bounce rates, as these demonstrate your visitor's level of engagement.

To increase engagement levels, it's critical to evaluate your website. Of particular importance is the "make or break page." This is your listing detail page and lots of time and traffic are spent here. Evaluate your URL structures, as well as your calls to action (are they measurable? positioned correctly?).

To learn more, contact RED@realestatedigital.com for their Website Platform Usability and Conversion Guide.

Build a Website Strategy

Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and buying links. Now, search is all about meeting the user's intent. Search engines like Google try to determine intent by weighing where the user is searching from, the content of their query, and their previous search history.

So it follows that effective search engine optimization is all about connecting your site's content with the user's intent. The Search Agency's holistic SEO approach--dubbed h(SEO)--encourages site owners to do this by "thinking beyond the link" to content strategy, analytics, and social media.

Key components of this approach include:

  • Creating relevance - This can be achieved with focused onsite content that satisfies homebuyer's search intent. As mentioned earlier, searchers crave local content. Demonstrate your local expertise by creating content that satisfies this hunger and connects with their intent.
  • Building authority - This is all about creating social visibility by becoming a "legitimate topic expert." You can do this by deploying off-site assets that create brand and topic associations, citations, affiliations, connections and mentions within social media, blogs, publishers, and other relevant authority venues.
  • Engagement - Measure onsite user experience and interaction by reviewing analytics for poor engagement. Metrics like high bounce rates indicate that user intent may not be satisfied. Also, make sure that all content is shareable.

For more information, download The Search Agency's whitepaper, h(SEO)-A Holistic Approach to Search Engine Optimization.

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